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Music Media Handhelds Hardware

Microsoft, Sony Announce iPod Competitors 610

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the running-for-the-money dept.
Pfhreak writes "According to the Denver Post -- Las Vegas section, a little over halfway down the page -- Microsoft will begin selling a $50 music player that will 'look and feel as good as the iPod' later this year. Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft VP, is quoted as saying that the player will give customers more choices than Apple." In related news, Tetsugaku-San writes "The Register has the scoop on Sony's new portable audio/visual playback device. Impressively it plays MPEG2, MPEG4, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF and MP3 (finally they got the message Apple was gonna whoop em!) straight out of the box. Not as good battery life as I'd like to see, but real world tests remain to be seen."
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Microsoft, Sony Announce iPod Competitors

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  • Is there any way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BizidyDizidy (689383) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:14PM (#9272517)
    this is going to have a similar capacity? If so, IPOD should be out of business with that price difference.
    • by hondo77 (324058) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:15PM (#9272537) Homepage
      Of course it's not going to have a similar capacity. All he said was it's going to look neat. More Microsoft FUD and vapor.
      • by sTalking_Goat (670565) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:42PM (#9272798) Homepage
        Its cracks me up that what they're aiming for is to "...look and feel like the IPOD."

        Whatever happened to outdoing your competitors?

        Way to go MS. Aim low.

        • Re:Is there any way (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:06PM (#9273015)
          "Whatever happened to outdoing your competitors?

          Way to go MS. Aim low."


          Oh right. Here's what the reverse would be:

          "Um, M$, this is nothing like the elegance of the iPod. Way to go MS, blow it again."

          • by sTalking_Goat (670565) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:33PM (#9273186) Homepage
            "Um, M$, this is nothing like the elegance of the iPod. Way to go MS, blow it again."

            Thats just it, it doesn't have to be anything like iPod. As a geek (normal ppl will no doubt disagree) I want something functional. Something that works and does everything its supposed to do with no extraneous BS.

            Barring that I would settle for something elegant. Elegant does not have to mean "...look and feel like the iPod". Why is it that Apple, a company of relatively small size and resources can make computers and electronics more aesthetically pleasing than atlest half the women I've dated and M$ can only put out bloated, overpriced crap. Look at the XBox.

            The money that M$ is losing on this MP3 player project could be invested in market research and finding the next User Interface design geniuses that will put out something that'll make every M$ bashing geek on /. cream in his pants. Instead they'd rather put out cheap crap and spread all kinds of FUD just to kill off a competitor.

            • by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb@gmail.cLISPom minus language> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @09:07PM (#9273416) Homepage
              ...M$ can only put out bloated, overpriced crap. Look at the XBox.

              I know it's flamebait (using the dollar sign tipped me off) but I can't help myself. The Xbox is indeed bloated (in terms of size) but it is neither "overpriced" nor "crap." In fact, it offers more functionality (by nearly every measure) than Sony's PS2 for the same price. There are great games to play on the system, and cross-platform games usually look, and sometimes play, better than on competing machines.

              Whatever the truth is about Microsoft's potential MP3 player (and we don't have "truth" yet since the linked article is a blurb that generates more questions than answers), there's nothing wrong with the Xbox that a table (and, for some people, a few Japanese-style RPGs) won't fix.

              • Re:Is there any way (Score:3, Interesting)

                by miu (626917)
                There are great games to play on the system, and cross-platform games usually look, and sometimes play, better than on competing machines.

                Crossplatform games often look better on Xbox, but very seldom play better, often I think the PS2 version plays best. It probably comes down to what you are used to, but I find the PS2 version controls better in almost every case. Even after reducing the Xbox controller to a reasonable size it is still the worst designed of the current generation console controllers.

        • Re:Is there any way (Score:3, Interesting)

          by falcon5768 (629591)
          um since when have they aimed high? We are talking about the same company that stole DOS, backcoded the Mac OS, released its own uncompatable version of Java... should I keep going?
          • by Halfbaked Plan (769830) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @09:08PM (#9273421)
            Microsoft doesn't aim 'high' or 'low.' Microsoft aims wide.

            Nobody uses Microsoft products has ever been called elitist. MS isn't into selling to narrow niche markets.

        • by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @10:51PM (#9274012)
          If you've ever spent hours on end staring at and fondling your iPod, then the Microsoft audio alternative is for you!

          Dunno what you're gonna do if you actually want to *listen* to the damn thing....

        • by obeythefist (719316) on Friday May 28, 2004 @12:30AM (#9274513) Journal
          What part of "embrace and extend" are we not clear on?

          Phase 1: Embrace - Get your foot into the market, as deep as you can. Doesn't have to "outdo" the competitors. You can even sell at a loss if you like, the OS market will pay for it. Make your web browser "free". Sell your XBox/MS-IPod at a lower price than it costs you to make.
          Phase 2: Extend - Use market penetration, leverage, hostile takeovers, anticompetetive practice and "innovation" to make that market yours.
          Phase 3: Profit
          Phase 4: Find new market. Repeat step 1.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:16PM (#9272546)
      "this is going to have a similar capacity? If so, IPOD should be out of business with that price difference."

      Wow, I don't think anyone could come up with a more succinct statement that summarizes why the Slashdot crowd has absolutely no clue about the portable music player market.

    • by Atario (673917)
      ...does the first reply in an article get modded "redundant".
    • Re:Is there any way (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dtfarmer (548183) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:11PM (#9273047) Homepage
      I don't think it will have a similar capacity. I wouldn't even bet on it being a microsoft product, as that last bastion of journalistic integrity, as the apple turns [appleturns.com] has a linked story [nwsource.com] that has a bit more to chew on (but not much more) than the denver post article.

      The quote about the $50 players was left out, but it does still contain the 'look and feel' quote, and he is obviously referring to third-party players that will be launched alongside a new microsoft music download service.

      What kind of hard drive could a manufacturer possibly put in a player for less than $50 - none, maybe flash 128/256 - but that's already on the market, and has been for some time. Anyway, I choose to believe this to be just more Microsoft FUD until I see such a $50 iPod killer.
  • No .ogg, no sale. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Agent Green (231202) * on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:15PM (#9272529)
    That's just the way it is. I want my open-source, patent-free, DRM-free codec.
    • by Unit3 (10444) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:27PM (#9272675) Homepage
      It's a fun game! Moderate the first mention of OGG Vorbis as a troll, because, you know, people aren't allowed to express format preferences... and then, moderate the second mention [slashdot.org] as redundant, because it is too politely worded to be a troll!

      Yeah, I know "don't complain about moderation". Good thing this is an open forum and I can complain about retarded moderation if I want.
    • Re:No .ogg, no sale. (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:05PM (#9272999)
      "That's just the way it is. I want my open-source, patent-free, DRM-free codec."

      Instead of bitching about the lack of OGG support on Slashdot where it won't help matters, why don't you email Apple and tell them that you would be an iPod if they'd ship with OGG support? That would be the more constructive argument to make. Here, I'll even help you out and provide the proper link to submit your comment:

      http://www.apple.com/feedback/ipod.html

      Happy codec hunting!

    • Re:No .ogg, no sale. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ratsnapple tea (686697) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:32PM (#9273182)

      Operator: And our next question we'll take is from Arik Hesseldahl with Forbes.com.

      Arik Hesseldahl: Hi, Steve. Always concerned about -- not concerned, I guess, but wondering -- one of the previous questions was about revenue. I'm wondering if iTunes has reached the break even point yet.

      Steve Jobs: Yes. The iTunes music store had a small profit this past quarter.

      Arik Hesseldahl: Had a small profit. OK. Any interest whatsoever, since in the open source OGG Vorbis format?

      Steve Jobs: We're certainly not getting any requests from customers for it.

      Arik Hesseldahl: OK.

      Source: Conference call, April 29, 2004. [macobserver.com]

  • by SubTexel (715118) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:15PM (#9272535)
    Finally some competition in Apples handheld audio monopoly? Good to see the underdog(s) stick it to 'em.
  • by switcha (551514) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:16PM (#9272542)
    Microsoft will begin selling a $50 music player that will 'look and feel as good as the iPod' later this year.

    What a coincidence. Apple's lawyers are already filling out a lawsuit with the very same title!

  • Prediction ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:17PM (#9272559) Homepage Journal
    The Sony device will be quite good, and will compare favorably to the iPod. The Microsoft device will be a POS, but will sell like hotcakes despite that, and in a few years we'll have fanboys and pundits gushing about how Bill Gates "innovated" the personal MP3 player.
    • Re:Prediction ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Prof.Phreak (584152) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:33PM (#9273183) Homepage
      ...the personal MP3 player

      You're assuming it will even play MP3s.

      If they are pricing it at $50, they have to somehow make a profit on the songs; ie: at this price, I'd imagine they'd force everyone to use their online music store to buy music---and the player won't play anything else.
  • Realistically (Score:5, Interesting)

    by prostoalex (308614) * on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:17PM (#9272560) Homepage Journal
    Well, was bound to happen some day. Hard drive is probably the most expensive part of the hardware, and one can assume Microsoft already has software development covered.

    However, even Dell's digital jukeboxes [dell.com] start at $200, and beating Dell pricewise is something out of ordinary (possible, but few have done it).
    • Re:Realistically (Score:3, Informative)

      by FlipmodePlaya (719010)
      A 20GB Neuros [neurosaudio.com] is only $200, for one. Mad featureous, too.
    • Loss Leader (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CatGrep (707480) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:47PM (#9272839)
      However, even Dell's digital jukeboxes start at $200, and beating Dell pricewise is something out of ordinary (possible, but few have done it).

      I would suspect that with a $50 pricetag, Micro$oft is losing some amount of money per unit. They want to make the money on the music sales. Like razors or cameras - make money on the blades/film.
      • Except there's already another monopolistic group determined to make an obscene profit on the music sales, who will probably not appreciate being squeezed by MS. But if MS wants to get into a licensing brawl with the RIAA, part of me thinks "go for it".
      • Re:Loss Leader (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @09:21PM (#9273487) Homepage
        I would suspect that with a $50 pricetag, Micro$oft is losing some amount of money per unit. They want to make the money on the music sales. Like razors or cameras - make money on the blades/film.

        I disagree. I think that if the pricetag is $50, then Microsoft intends to lose money on the units AND the music sales (similar to how the XBox, a current venture loses money overall).

        Microsoft more likely than not intends to lose gobs of money overall on the entire music venture, with only two goals in mind:
        1. Prevent Apple from making money.
        2. Try to force WMA to take over the online music market and prevent an MPEG-4 based solution from doing so.
      • it said MS will be introducing playerS. presumably some will be flash based; you already see those for $50.
  • Access to media (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hope these players let us access the content normally through the filesystem, unlike the iPod :)
  • Typical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:17PM (#9272566) Homepage Journal
    In order to let folks know just how cool Microsoft is, they always seem to pre-announce products by several months to years and invariably when they come out, they always seem to be somehow less than they promised. The iPod is good.....damned good. So I am certainly going to take a wait and see approach, but one usually gets what they pay for.

    I likely will be sticking with the iPod I suspect.

  • That Sony one looks really nice, and it does everything I need except one... I need OGG Vorbis support, as my entire audio library is on my server in Q6 encoded files. :)

    So, does anyone know of another similar player, that does both MPEG4 (or compatible, like XVid) and OGG Vorbis?
  • Price is too low? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sean80 (567340) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:18PM (#9272581)
    How can they possibly sustain a business selling a player for $50? Oh, I remember, kill the competition with your low-priced alternative, because your Windows and Office products are such cashcows, and then when everybody else is laid waste, jack up the price and add useless features for years and years to come. Oh, and by the way, you need Windows to download the music for your player. Funny that.

    Not trying to flamebait or anything, but haven't we seen this type of strategy before?

    Dejavu is such a wonderful thing.

  • look and feel? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pedantic bore (740196) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:19PM (#9272582)
    'look and feel as good as the iPod'

    Look and feel are cheap. The question is whether it will work and sound as good. The principal attraction of the iPod is that it's intuitive and meshes well with iTunes. That's worth money to users.

    I'm glad that iPod is getting some competition (it will make iPods better to) but I don't see that this is necessarily a death blow for them.

  • by antarctican (301636) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:19PM (#9272583) Homepage
    Alright, how many people actually have the need for a mobile video device. I mean, audio I can understand, but how often have you sat on the subway going, "I'd really like to watch a movie right now." That must be one long commute....

    I mean the only use I can think of is for mobile pr0n needs, and if that's the case, I sure as hell don't want to be sitting next to them wthhout a raincoat.
  • ip-p-p-p-pPod! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:19PM (#9272586)
    It looks and feels just like an iPod! (of course, they don't mention it working, sheesh).

    I can just see MS coming out with something the size of an ipod, but with a tiny flash memory instead of a hard drive. And if MS markets it hard enough and makes it ubiquitous enough, the uninformed consumers will just slurp it up and think they're getting a huge bargin (despite there having been flash players that cheap for a long time).
  • by dmarcov (461598) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:20PM (#9272596) Homepage
    Impressively it plays MPEG2, MPEG4, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF and MP3


    Really? I can't wait to rawk to my .bmp files. I wonder what my desktop wallpaper sounds like.
  • Actually it looks like a pretty decent device, I just thought it was funny that it "plays BMP."
  • Ours will be just like Apple's, only better.

    This time we're serious. It's really cool.

    Really.
    • Heh
      In reality
      It'll be clunky but it will work
      It will be less user friendly but it will do
      It will be cheaper
      It will be leveraged like crazy.

      The only uncertain part is whether it will be DRM'd to the gills, or if it will play most formats, or if it will be a nerds dream and will have room for new codecs.

      The result of that question will determine the true success, assuming all the other postulations are correct
  • Couple these devices with the recent news that the iPod may not be as dominant as people think [macnn.com], and it's very clear that Apple needs to stay on their feet to keep the lead they have.

    Jobs may be right that portable video may not be all that great, but that doesn't mean that Apple shouldn't come out with a video iPod just to throw at the media. If Sony's and Microsoft's devices get too much attention just because of the color screens, Apple has to counter.

    I wonder about how Microsoft's offerings will affe

    • In my opinion (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcc (14761)
      Apple really, really needs-- not now, but sometime before the Microsoft "We can set rediculously low prices becuase we don't care if we make a profit on anything except Windows and Office Music Player" hits-- aggressively start licensing the FairPlay DRM and some kind of fancy "iTunes Music Store Compatibility" logo to other music player creators. I think if they do not attempt to do this they are in big trouble.

      Microsoft has been really, really harping on this "choice" thing, by which they mean "iTMS purc
  • Value (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nfotxn (519715) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:25PM (#9272648) Journal
    I really fail to see what value is added with having a colour screen and video playback. I don't think many people have any need for video playback they'd be using a portable device. Unless they have other behaviours in mind like using it primarily as an audio player and a video player or data storage when you arrive at your destination. Just from the perspective of my own behaviours I'm definitely not sold on video playback as a must-have feature. For the same reason portable RF televisions or DVD players aren't terribly popular I see this Sony unit as being similar.
  • Yes but (Score:4, Funny)

    by smartin (942) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:25PM (#9272652)
    It will be the size of a postage stamp and hold one song.
  • by quantaman (517394) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:31PM (#9272710)
    Microsoft will begin selling a $50 music player that will 'look and feel as good as the iPod' later this year

    Please note thatt by "look and feel as good as the iPod" they mean they're selling a rounded green and blue plastic shell, they also threw a couple a couple beads inside which you shake, when they rattle it makes the shell a music player.
  • by HonkyLips (654494) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:33PM (#9272727)
    These articles shit me. The thing is, Apple is a fashionable company. They make fashionable computers and fashionable products and this puts them in a different league to Microsoft et al. Geeks do not, by their very nature, understand fashion. Microsoft's competing product may be cheaper, Sony's may have more features etc etc. That will mean nothing to a kid who wants an iPod. I doubt that Ferrari were worried when Kia/ Daewoo/ Hyundai popped onto the car scene; I don't think Armani is worried that you can buy shirts for $20 at Kmart, and so on. The Apple iPod is a fashion accessory. Paris Hilton ( or insert vacuous celebrity here) won't be caught dead using a cheap Microsoft rip off and millions of teenagers will feel the same way. Apple could double the price of their iPod range and they'd still sell them. Apples are desirable. They're cool. Microsoft has never been cool and never will be no matter what they do. Can you really imagine a company owned and run by Bill Gates producing something that teenagers everywhere go nuts for? Compare their interface designs to Apple's.... Sony are too sensibly Japanese to be cool. There is no iPod killer. When cool people start saying "Levis are dead - I can buy jeans for 1/5 the price at Target" then maybe, just maybe, Apple should start to worry.....
    • The thing is, Apple is a fashionable company. They make fashionable computers and fashionable products and this puts them in a different league to Microsoft et al.

      Doesn't the meaning of the word "fashion" imply that a lot of people ought to be using Apple computers, rather than a miniscule fraction of users?

      Sony are too sensibly Japanese to be cool.

      Right. That's why none of their consumer electronics designs like the Walkman or the Discman have ever been popular, trendsetting items.

      Wow, this must be wh

      • How many Ferraris do you own? How about Armani suits? What about a Rolex or a pair of Ferragamo shoes?

        Fashionable has never been equated with commodity. Fashion sets the trend, then the rest of the industry tries to match it while balancing supply and demand to the lowest common denominator.

    • by cft_128 (650084) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:03PM (#9272989)
      Geeks do not, by their very nature, understand fashion.

      My imaginary girlfriend would totally agree with you if she didn't live in Canada.

  • by sillivalley (411349) <sillivalley@com[ ]t.net ['cas' in gap]> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:34PM (#9272732)
    Geez, not another one! I expect the Sony product to be well designed, a lot of attention to detail -- and high priced. And don't forget, Sony has built-in schizophrenia -- their music division -- MP3 is evil, remember? Sony could have owned the market with mini-disc, but their own paranoia crippled the product (no high-speed digital download, clunky proprietary software, etc.)

    But a friend points me to the Sony announcement -- it plays movies, all these formats. Does it have a corkscrew, I ask? GPS?

    What? Corkscrew? GPS? Yeah, if it's going to replace things, it should play my AV stuff, have a corkscrew, show me where I am, and be sturdy enough to pound nails...

    Really -- what I want in a portable music player is to play music. I don't care about video, GPS, cell phone, or anything else.

    As to the iPod killer? It's already on the market. It stores enough of my music, the battery lasts long enough, it drives my earphones (Etymotics ER4), and it's small enough to carry in a pocket.

    It's the iPod mini. It does what I want, and I love it.
  • FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:37PM (#9272754)
    Classic Microsoft. There is no way MS could or would want to release such a cheap device but it sure as hell is great to FUD everyone out of buying an iPOD.
  • by malia8888 (646496) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:41PM (#9272789)
    Microsoft will begin selling a $50 music player that will 'look and feel as good as the iPod' later this year.

    Pardon my cynical attitude but I cannot imagine an item that sells for $50 for 20G versus the Apple model for the same size at $399 looking and feeling remotely the same.

    I have one of the original 5G iPods. I have used, abused and it runs beautifully. The design and looks are without peer IMHO.

    This sort of reminds me of plastic surgeons who claim silicone breast implants have the same look and feel as the real deal.

    • by laird (2705)
      "Microsoft will begin selling a $50 music player that will 'look and feel as good as the iPod' later this year."

      Well, the reason that the iPod looks and feels so good is that the iPod has a fast interface (FireWire or USB2), tons of storage (i.e. a hard drive), and that fantastic scroll wheel.

      If MS makes a $50 "iPod", that means that it'll have to cost $20 to manufacturer. For $20, it'll be hard to include a $60 hard drive, much less the controls and display, battery, audio circuitry, etc.

      The only option
  • by r.future (712876) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:44PM (#9272809) Homepage Journal
    I found this story [businessweek.com] wirtten on May 5, 2004 which states "ON THE VERGE. Still, if the iPod were a stock, I'd dump my shares. It's hard to imagine Apple maintaining its dominant position in digital music. Jobs had actually predicted 100 million in iTMS song sales in the first year, and he missed by a wide mark. Apple managed to turn in only a 10% quarter-over-quarter increase in iPod sales last quarter, implying the market is slowing. And several top executives dumped millions of their own Apple shares in late April, the first major sale by insiders in years" The article goes on to say that Apple w\should spin off iPod now and pocket the cash while the gettings is good.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:44PM (#9272813)
    "Blue note of death"
  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:52PM (#9272883)
    MS is only going to use a hardware media player to push a wide-scale adoption of Windows Media. MS is not going to make a dime off of their MediaPlayer. They'll take a giant loss selling a $50 Media Player (even a good tiny flash player costs $100).

    MS is going to shoot for long term profits from WM licenses. They are going to try to squish competition, and after that is done, they're going to raise licensing rates... which will make music more expensive.

    I'm all for competition. However MS's concept of "competition" is the exact same as Walmart's. Slash prices, kill competitors, raise rates, and lower product/service quality.

    I'm sure Apple knew this was going to happen. These are typical Microsoft actions. It'll be interesting to see how they're going to innovate their way out of this predicament... they certainly don't have the money to counteract stuff like this.

  • by 0WaitState (231806) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:56PM (#9272920)
    The Microsoft music player will feature a complete selection of air guitar tunes, encoded in the new MT format.
  • by polyp2000 (444682) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @07:56PM (#9272923) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft will begin selling a $50 music player that will 'look and feel as good as the iPod' later this year.

    Well thats great, but id personally prefer a player that sounds as good, and performs as well as the iPod rather than one that "looks and feels" like one. With a 50quid price tag it will either be horrendously locked in (so that they can make money back from the songs) or the capacity will be so small that it becomes inconvient for people with large collections.

    And i'd be very surprised if the "Gives more choice to consumers" part means anything more than WMA support, I would be prepared to place money on the fact that flac and ogg support are not included in that "more choice" line up...

    However ... That Sony player does look shweet! ;)

    nick ...
  • more choice? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:00PM (#9272950)
    Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft VP, is quoted as saying that the player will give customers more choices than Apple."

    How exactly is a Microsoft portable MP3 player going to give more choice to consumers than an iPod? Is he referencing that the end user can use all of the other commercial download services that are in competition with Apple's iTunes? (you know, all the ones that deal in WMA, and yes, I said "deal"). In that case, the "choice" is like Henry Ford saying the consumer could have his Model T "in any color, as long as it is black." I'm sorry, but unless the Microsoft player supports Ogg and "unencrypted" AAC, then again, its the illusion of choice on the part of Microsoft. In other words, more of the smoke and mirrors routine from Redmond. Considering this product will be another expense bankrolled by the ill-gotten gains of their operating system (and office applications) monopoly, they should (IMHO) instead invest the money spent on this ill-conceived project on further securing their bread-and-butter offerings. Or buyout Rockstar Games and break the exclusive PS2/3 contract they have for the next GTA title so the Xbox Next has a fighting chance against the PS3.

    Regardless, I will lay down dollars or euros that Microsoft will include an (unencrypted) AAC to WMA conversion program, to answer Apple's tit-for-tat from last month's announcement. Just like I will bet green that Apple will be the first computer manufacturer to ship machines with Blue Ray drives as a way of spiting the DVD Forum for supporting WMP9 as the compression scheme for HD-DVD.

  • by Dr. Mojura (584120) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:38PM (#9273226)
    Apparently someone got their grubby little hands on a beta version of Microsoft's iPod killer [hotandfruity.com]. I must say, it's very stylish, and I wouldn't mind losing the portability of my iPod to show off this baby. Hot!
  • YAIW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pherris (314792) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:50PM (#9273308) Homepage Journal
    Yet another iPod wannabe. Let's see what Apple and/or Jobs have created in the past:

    Mac OS. Man, in some ways Mac OS 9 is still better than Windows XP.

    NeXT Cube. What a sweet machine. There was nothing like it then and still respected today.

    NeXTStep. IMO still the best OS made. So good Mac OS X uses huge chucks of it.

    Newton. Bumpy at first but the last models released are still better IMO than any other pda.

    Mac Cube. Very cool looking and quiet. They still get top dollar on ebay today.

    iMac. The original iMac gave us style where style had been missing. Beige was dead and you were proud of your Bondi Blue machine.

    ... and of course the iPod.

    I know I've missed a few other marvels and I'm sure there's some cool stuff they never released. With all that said don't you think that Apple already has a working video iPod prototype that could be in production in less than 30 days? The magic eight ball says "Yes".

    I have yet to see someone scoop Apple in style and thunder, and IMO MS/Sony won't do it this time. I don't care how good it is, Apple will make their's better.

  • by ITR81 (727140) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @10:36PM (#9273946)
    If so get ready for bugs, blue screens of death, reboots, and viruses.

    I doubt it will compete with the next gen of iPods.

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